ON Friday, September 24, at 10:30, a shack caught fire in Sea Vista, St Francis Bay. The fire quickly spread because of the strong westerly winds and a total of 39 homes were destroyed in the blaze.
Kouga Express spoke to Liezel Clause, from St Francis Bay Disaster Volunteer group (DVG), to find out what the current situation was.
According to Clause, the dwellings that were affected were totally destroyed, with nothing salvageable remaining. Thankfully, no people were injured in the blaze but there was, unfortunately, significant loss of animals who perished in the fire.
“This means that 39 families are now in desperate need of our help as a community to get back on their feet.
“Thankfully, they have all managed to find temporary lodgings with family and friends while they attempt to rebuild their homes and essentially, their lives.”
On Saturday afternoon, the DVG were able to deliver soup mixes to the families affected so that they at least had food for the day.
“The children from St Francis College had donated these pre-packed soup mixes to St Francis United Church as part of a community service project, thus, the packages were there for us to collect immediately when the tragedy struck.
“We are so thankful to everyone who jumped in and helped the families over the weekend.”
During March 2020, the DVG set up an emergency food project, and have had volunteers from the community helping them with distribution of food items since then.
“This network of volunteers who are part of the community in Sea Vista have been vital to our being able to distribute the food to the families in need, and ascertaining what the extent of the need is.
“We were able to distribute some bags of porridge that we had left over from our COVID-19 relief efforts but food for these families is still a daily need,” she said.
“On Monday afternoon, we were able to deliver some fresh food to the families from Village Square SUPERSPAR, funded by the local church, Rotary and DVG.
Feeding 39 families, who have absolutely nothing to their names, is no easy feat, though, and it takes daily networking to ensure that these families do not go hungry, on top of everything else they have lost.
“We are currently in desperate need of donations to help these families rebuild their lives. They are in need of clothing, household items, bedding, furniture and most of all, building materials to rebuild their homes.
“The estimated cost of rebuilding 39 basic dwellings is R50 000 and, though we have received some monetary donations so far, it really is a drop in the bucket.”
The Kouga Municipality disaster management committee met at the site of the fires on September 28 to assess the situation and find out how they could assist.
If anyone is willing and able to donate towards this cause, please see the St Francis Bay Disaster Management group Facebook page or contact Liezel Clause at 083 285 7166.